Blog: Fake news doing the rounds on social media

IPSA are completely independent from MPs or parliament.
I just want to reassure people regarding the fake news doing the rounds on social media.

MPs have not received any pay increase as a result of the Coronavirus.  The budget for office costs is not pay but a completely different budget which can only be used for costs such as rent, rates, utility bills, equipment etc for my constituency office which is normally open to the public. Many of these business costs are fixed whether the office is open or not, and therefore will have to be paid. The office has now had to close under the COVID20 regulations because it is possible, with some assistance, for staff to work from home.

The fake reports doing the rounds on social media actually relate to this allowance for office costs such as equipment, which has been increased by the independent standards authority (IPSA) over whose decisions MPs have no say.  IPSA say they did this so that dedicated constituency staff can have what access to what is required to continue to work from home and deal with urgent casework, such as people stranded abroad, or destitute, as well as processing other correspondence and calls from constituents.

As you might imagine there has been a very significant increase in representations from constituents in need of assistance in the current crisis.  For my hardworking office staff working from home that means they need to be able to deal with calls, emails and correspondence, as well as communicating with Government departments (including overseas) as well as other public and private institutions.  They are not usually home workers. They should not be out of pocket for being required to do their job in another location.

For information, because I am able to run a joint office with my Assembly colleague Mark Drakeford I don't anticipate having to spend more that the existing Office costs budget in the current financial year despite these extra costs.  But other colleagues whose existing budget is fully committed may well have to access the extra budget for reasons outlined above.

Finally, just to be clear none of these funds come to me personally, and neither will I require any expenses personally for home working as my old laptop is still functioning, as you can tell from this.

Best wishes